Welcome to Sassafras
BLOOMINGTON AREA listserve:
Check the Bloomington-Birds-L archives for recent sightings, or to join the list.
The IN-BIRD archives keep track of sightings across the state or to join the list.
The Indiana Audubon Society includes a checklist of Indiana birds and information on birding spots around Indiana.
Birding Hot Spots in Monroe County
Monroe County offers excellent opportunities for birding; over 270 species have been recorded here. The following information lists seven sites in Monroe County and two sites in neighboring counties. These sites are representative of local habitats. All are productive, although there will be seasonal variations. Naturally the spring and fall migrations will provide the greatest variety of species.
Use of a county map is recommended. All directions are given from Bloomington.
Lake Lemon: Go east on Indiana State Road 45 through New Unionville to Tunnel Road. Turn left (north) onto Tunnel Road. Lake Lemon is seasonally good for waterfowl. This area provides good access for viewing field species and waterfowl.
Griffy Lake: Take the 46 Bypass to Matlock Road (across from the State Police station). Turn onto Matlock. Matlock becomes Headly Road, which in turn becomes Hinkle. Follow to Griffy Lake, crowwing the causeway to the parking lot. The lakeshore can be good for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds. There are hiking trails through the property that can be very productive. The area is excellent for warblers during spring migration.
Bottom Road: Bottom Road can be accessed from north or southbound Highway 37. The access point is immediately south of the College Avenue exit ramp. Bottom Road winds through floodplain farmland. A sewage lagoon is located at the junction of Maple Grove and Bottom Road. North on Bottom road is the Restle Unit of Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge. This area cannot be entered but can be viewed from the road. The area is good for raptors, especially in the fall and winter. The Restle unit is seasonally good for waterfowl and the sewage lagoon can be good for shorebirds.
Lake Monroe Boat Ramps: Pine Grove, Cutright, and Paynetown boat ramps are accessible from State Road 446. These sites give good views of the lake with the possibility of seeing eagles, hawks, and waterfowl.
Fairfax State Recreation Area: From Bloomington, go south on Walnut Street to Fairfax Road. Turn left (east) on Fairfax to Fairfax State Recreation Area. The area around the first parking lot, especially the beach and peninsula, is best. The peninsula is good for waterfowl, eagles, and hawks. The area is good for warblers during migration.
Cedar Bluff: From Bloomington, take Walnut Street south across Highway 37. Turn right on Ketcham Road access, then right on Ketcham Road. Follow for 3.6 miles to Cedar Bluff Nature Preserve. A small parking lot is located just before the bridge across Clear Creek. Field species such as Grasshopper Sparrows can be seen in the fields near the parking lot. Warblers, thrushes, owls, grouse, and turkey can be seen and heard in the preserve.
Stillwater Marsh/North Fork: From Bloomington, go east on State Road 46 to Kent Road. This is a gravel road just before the bridge over Salt Creek. Turn right onto Kent Road and follow it across a bridge to McGowan Road. Turn right onto McGowan Road and follow to the Stillwater marsh overlook and the North Fork area. Parts of the NorthFork complex are closed from October 1 through April 15. Hunting is permitted in the Stillwater/North Fork area. This area is excellent for waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and wading birds.
McCormick's Creek State Park (out of county): The park lies fourteen miles west of Bloomington on State Road 46. The trails along the northern canyon rim, and east loop of the campgrounds are seasonally good for warblers. Check at the Nature Center for information.
Yellowwood Lake (out of county): Yellowwood Lake and State Forest are ten miles east of Bloomington. From Bloomington, take Highway 46 east to Knight's Corner. Turn left at the sign for Yellowwood State Forest. Follow to a "T," turn left, and follow to the property. The lake and surrounding woods provide viewing of a variety of species. Try the Jackson Creek Management Trail at the east end of the lake.